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Brazil: Congresswoman Fined for 'Hate against Trans Couple'

Clarissa Tercio was fined $2000 for calling a man a man and a woman a woman on Instagram.

Brazil: Congresswoman Fined for 'Hate against Trans Couple'
Clarissa Tercio

Clarissa Tercio, a congresswoman from Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristao) was ordered by the Brazilian Justice system to pay 10k Brazilian Reais ($2000) to a couple for alleged “transphobia” in January, 2023. In 2020, Tercio posted on Instagram a picture of a “trans” couple with the caption: "He was born she and she was born he. And the best thing about it is biology proving to ideology that, to generate a life, we will always need a XX and a XY".

The picture Tercio posted was an image of the couple’s pregnancy photo book, which had been shared on Instagram by other Instagram accounts who were praising the couple and the pregnancy. But Tercio was accused of “misuse of image” - using an image without permission - and for making a caption in a “derogatory tone”, exposing the picture’s owners to “malicious and pejorative comments.”

screenshot of the offending post

According to Brazilian law, if an image is used for a “purpose other than that which the author of the image intended (regardless of whether it is a good or bad purpose, respectful or disrespectful), the person who published it may be forced to delete the post.” In this case, the repost of the image portraying the couple, without their permission and with a caption correctly sexing them, was considered “misuse.”

The couple’s lawyer said to Brazilian newspaper G1 that, even though the judge didn’t mention the “transphobic act endured by the family” in the sentence, the couple “was attacked because they were trans,” according to the couple’s petition to the justice system. “The violation occurred because the congresswoman used the image of the couple's pregnancy on her social networks without authorization, delegitimizing the trans couple's family which, as a result of the post, suffered numerous prejudiced, vexatious and degrading violations.”

In Brazil, homophobia and transphobia was defined as “committing, inducing or inciting discrimination or prejudice based on a person's sexual orientation” and “anyone who discriminates or offends LGBTI people will be framed in art. 20 of the Racism Law (7.716/1989).”

Tercio’s spokesperson told the same newspaper that the congresswoman had not been notified of the judicial decision yet, but that she will take the appropriate legal measures when she is notified and will appeal the decision.

The “trans couple,” Rodrigo Bryan (the mother) and Ellen Carine (the father), came to prominence in 2020 when they announced their pregnancy. At the time of the birth of their first child, a girl, in April 2021, Carine revealed to the press that they conceived “naturally” after pausing hormones. When the baby was born, Ellen said “as soon as the baby is born, it is put in contact with the human body and we decided that the contact would be with me, as I am the mother. She went straight to Rodrigo until the umbilical cord was cut, then she came into my arms and stayed with me for an hour.” Less than four months after the birth of their baby girl, Rodrigo got pregnant again with their second child.

The news story from G1 doesn’t mention whether the couple registered the child’s mother as the father and the father as the mother but in 2021, another trans couple took legal measures to ensure that the trans-identified woman was registered as the father and the trans-identified man as the mother. At the time, the couple claimed that the health team's service didn’t “respect their gender identity” when filling out the documents and reported it as “racism” to the police. The hospital said that in a note that they followed the requirements of the manual proposed by the Department of Health on birth certificates.

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